We often think of our students with autism as being visual learners.We provide them with visual schedules and visual prompts. In the school environment they may see attractive classroom displays and have to walk along bright, busy hallways.
For some students, however, too much visual information can cause sensory overload. They find it difficult to attend to tasks because they’re having to process too much visual information on the page or cards in front of them. Whether I’m creating math, language, or science resources I aim to design my resources with clear layouts and as few visual distractions as possible, in order to reduce the amount of visual information which students are required to process.
Some autistic people need proprioceptive input (deep pressure) in order to sense where there body is in space, and to feel calmer. Buying weighted sensory products can be expensive, so here’s an easy and inexpensive way to make a weighted vest or jacket for a child or adult:
Buy wrist weights from a sports shop and pop them into the pockets of a favourite hoodie. The hoodie in the photo is sleeveless (as my son wears it indoors in summer), but you might prefer to use a hoodie with sleeves.
Although Christmas is a few weeks away yet, are some of your students getting anxious as they anticipate the changes in their routines which the Christmas celebrations can bring? If so, my FREE Christmas Countdown Chart might be helpful.
It’s important to remember that not all students like Christmas lights and decorations, so I like to make sure they have somewhere to go to ‘escape’ from the decorations, the noise and the excitement. My Christmas Countdown Chart includes a Christmas-Free Zone Poster which you can place on the door of a quiet room, or other safe space.
If you have students who are reluctant to write answers to math problems, you might be interested in my new Circle To Match sets. These are great for students who would prefer to circle, check or dab their answers, or they could even use stickers. And, they’re no prep for you!
Fine Motor Skills and Motor Planning can be difficult for some kids with autism. This can impact on their ability to write & draw. That’s why I have created several Fine Motor products, and STEMthinking has created some Drawing Skills products.
Many teachers are already thinking about returning to school after their summer break. With lots of planning and preparing to do and new resources to find for pupils it can be an expensive time of year for teachers.
If you’re looking to save yourself time and money by buying resources for your next class, I have created several DISCOUNTED BUNDLES for you.
Many of the general public are now aware of autism through the Media, TV, charity events. However there is still a long way to go until children, young people and adults with autism/who are autistic are accepted, understood and included by society. Sadly pressure is often put on people with autism to try harder to fit in- to be more social, to have more friends, to ‘behave’ like everyone else even when their senses are bombarded by too much stimuli.
For this year’s Autism Awareness month I’ve teamed up with a group of special educators to promote Autism Acceptance as well as Awareness. From April 1st to April 8th you can CLICK HERE for lots of FREE educational Autism Resources. Here’s my latest FREE Autism Resource– “How Autism Affects Me” pages for older students.
Teaching shopping skills to kids with autism can be difficult as there are so many small steps & skills to consider, and each child’s sensory needs need to be met. That’s why I have created a Teaching Shopping Skills Animation Video for teachers & parents.
This video is available from my Autism Educators and TpT stores. A is free poster on teaching shopping skills is also included when you purchase the video.
I love creating clip cards for students. They’re a great way to engage students of all abilities. For kids who have difficulty writing, clip cards enables them to show their knowledge with out the stress of having to write.
For students who need to fidget, clip cards keep their hands busy and provide their hands with sensory feedback, while they’re focusing answering. Providing a variety of different types and sizes of clips will help your students practice their fine motor skills too.
Clip cards don’t need to just be for Speech & Language activities. I love to use them for Math, Science, Life Skill & Geography tasks too.
This summer, I’ve been busy creating lots of new educational autism resources for my stores.
If you’re looking for speech & language, reading, math, or science resources for the new school year, please check out the wide range of activities in my stores Teachers Pay Teachers, Autism Educators & TES.
Many people with autism can be overloaded by too much input. Overload may be triggered by lights, colours, moving objects, loud noises, everyday sounds, touch, textures.
Here in the UK, the NAS have recently launched a video called Too Much Information to simulate what it feels like to be overloaded in public places. View it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr4_dOorquQ
In school there are many triggers of sensory overload which can make it extremely difficult for students with autism to focus on tasks.
Here’s my Top 10 list of recommended reading for teachers of kids with autism:
“The Autistic Brain”, Temple Grandin- in thisTemple Grandin details the latest research into how the minds of people with autism. She explains why not eveyone with autism is a visual thinker.
“The Autism Checklist”, Paula Kluth– this book gives a great summary of the adaptations teachers need to make to include kids with autism in their class
“10 Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew”, Ellen Nottbohm -written by an autism-mom, this book is a must read for all teachers.
“Carly’s Voice”, Arthur & Carly Fleischman -Carly is a young woman with autism who is unable to speak, but communicates by typing. This book, mainly written by her father, is her true story.
“The Way I See It”, Temple Grandin -In this book Temple Grandin shares her opinion on many topics realting to autism.
“The Out of Sync Child”,Carol Stock Kranowitz– Many kids with autism also have sensory processing difficulties/disorder. This book provides lots of information and advice about SPD
“Intensive Interaction and Sensory Integration”, Phoebe Caldwell -Pheobe Caldwell has been working with people with autsim for over 30 years, most of whom are nonverbal. In this book she explains how it is possible to commnicate with nonverbal people with severe autism.
“Anxiety To Meltdown”, Deborah Lipsky -This book discusses the triggers for meltdowns, and explains the differences between meltdown & tantrums.
“Autism Movement Therapy”, Joanna Lara -Music & Movement Therapy is not only fun, but it can help kids with autism develop new skills. This is an inspiring and encouraging book.
“Running With Walker”, Robert Hughes -A true story of a boy with autism and how his family find therapies which help him learn.
Perhaps you have students who struggle to stay seated in class. You’ve tried a token economy, you tried visuals, but your students keep getting out of their seats. Those students may have sensory processing disorder. They may need to move to be bale to feel where their bodies are. Their bodies may be craving movement.
Do you teach any students with very challenging behaviors? Many of the students which we label as “challenging” can be sensory seeking or sensory avoiding behaviors. My teenage son, with autism, is hypersensitive to sound, but sometimes he can create a lot of noise by shouting, singing, or turning up his cd player super loud. He is making sound which he can control in order to block out environmnetal noises which distress him. Carly Fleischmann (see “Carly’s Voice”by Arthur & Carly Fleischmann), a young woman with autism says she creates “output to block input”.
In order to help you meet the sensory needs of your individual students I have begun creating some sensory resources:Sensory Strategies Self-Regulation Visual Support click here to view